Friday, January 25, 2008

Resolution: Make up New Words

Why should Shakespeare have all the fun? If the Bard could make up new words and have them stick, so can we!

New words can be logical and easily understood. You might start out with something like Lisa's use of readee to mean someone who is read to. This utilizes a standard word structure (employee, leasee) to express a new meaning. But don't be afraid to get a little eccentric: you could use photolilacology, for example, to mean the study of light of the color lilac.

As you write or speak, think about what words - both new and old - mean in their most basic sense. A writer is one who writes; an author is, etymologically, one who creates (or even "fathers") a work. So we use "author" to describe someone who has written finished stories/essays/etc, whereas a writer may also be someone who writes more casually. A director is one who directs or guides. A politician is one who practices politics, whereas a statesman is a man of (in a sense belonging to) the state. Specificity in word choice is important to expressing exactly what you want to communicate.

1 comment:

imputerate said...

Here's an essential new word:

Puteracy, n.
the era which is succeeding on the era of literacy.

Like the Greek word 'logos,' with which John rephrased the first
sentence of Genesis in order to usher in a new era

["In the beginning was the WORD."],

the Latin word 'putare' provides us with a broad semantic tool to
confront the cybernetic age.

'Putare' means to reckon, to consider, to calculate. As we imputerates
master the conceptual architecture of hypertext, we will find we can do
things with language that are as transformational as long division,
complex tense sequence, and mapping were for illiterate cultures.

Nowadays, "It ain't what you know, it's who else knows it."